Being Sweet When You’re Sixteen

| Issaquah, WA, USA | Working | April 23, 2014

(I am just turning 16. I am extremely introverted, terrified of public embarrassment, and going to a birthday dinner with my mother who is the exact opposite. The server comes to take our drink order…)

Mom: “IT’S HER BIRTHDAY!”

Server: “Oh? How old?”

Me: *shrinking into my seat somewhat* “… 16.”

Server: “Wonderful. I’ll put the drink order in and be right back.”

(The server leaves to do just that, I spend the whole time she’s gone terrified she’s going to bring everyone over. Instead, when she returns, it’s just her. She sits down in the booth next to me.)

Server: “I remember when I turned 16. My parents took me out for my birthday dinner and had everyone in the restaurant pulled over to sing happy birthday for me. It was the most mortifying experience of my life. I think at 16 you’re old enough to decide for yourself – do you want me to have everyone sing happy birthday for you? Because I will totally go get them if you want.”

Me: “Please, no.”

Server: “You got it. Happy birthday.”

(My mom just laughed at the whole exchange and didn’t press the issue, and the dinner was passed in peaceful quiet. While I can’t remember how much my mom tipped her, I do know it was at least as much as we spent on food, and I have never forgotten that kindness!)

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